Does a Relationship Have to Start Out Easy to Be Successful?

Does a Relationship Have to Start Out Easy to Be Successful?

Hi Evan,
First off- thank-you! I am a single mom and finally find myself in a relationship with another single parent whom I completely respect and trust. Your advice on waiting to have sex until committed, mirroring, and letting him lead the way have 100% worked for me!

Here’s the rub. We have been together 4 months. 1 month in he lost his job, 2 months in his car, and at 3 months was just barely managing to hang on to his home.

He is also building his own business from the ground up and is finally seeing an income again. His stress level is high and his schedule is intense. He is spending all of his free time with me, however, that’s only 1-2 nights a week. We do talk on the phone everyday.

I know he wants to be with me. I know he is overloaded. None of my needs are being met right now (companionship, regular sex). How do I hang on? Do I just grin and bear it? We have weathered quite a bit together in a short period of time and this isn’t exactly the smooth start to a relationship that I always hear is key to long-term success. Plus I feel our communication levels are getting lower, not higher due to everything piling on top of him. How do I gauge a relationship without all the ‘normal’ barometers?

Thanks for listening. –Alyssa

Dear Alyssa,

Thoughtful question, which resists an easy answer.

I think it all depends on whether you see this man as having the potential to be your future husband or not.

As long as you’re on his team, you have a great chance to weather this storm and prove your worth as a partner.

If you do, you stick it out.

If you don’t, it’s well within your right to bail.

First, take a look at the man himself. Most of us have gone through hard times in our lives, not unlike your boyfriend.

Some people pull out of them – some people are in a perpetual funk.

Which category does your boyfriend fall into?

Is he a strong, driven, entrepreneurial man with a combination of book smarts, street smarts and drive that will lift him from his malaise?

Or is he the kind of guy who is always bouncing from job to job, who always complains that no one understands him, and who always has big ideas that never quite take off?

In other words, do you believe that this man will eventually pull himself out of this rut and that you’ll get back to normal?

If you believe in him, then I would stick with him.

Not because he’s a load of laughs with a high sex drive and a lot of free time and disposable income, but because you believe in his character and are the kind of partner who values loyalty.

Flip it over for a second and imagine you were in his position. What would you like HIM to do? I assume that if you were in his position, you’d be busy, stressed, frustrated, worried, depressed and consumed with pulling yourself out of this financial hole. Everything else would, by nature, be secondary to you getting back on your feet.

You’d presumably want him to be patient with you as you work through this tough time. Or, you’d have the kindness and wherewithal to realize that you have nothing to give, that it’s going to be a LONG road back, and let him know that he should probably move on without you.

If you believe in him, then I would stick with him.

But if, as you acknowledge, he’s a good man who is already spending all of his free time with you, I would ask him how you can help him achieve his goals. Can you help with his business? His marketing? His accounting? The dinner/movie bills? When I met my wife, she was in deep credit card debt and I helped her out by taking care of every check for three years, until she paid down all of her cards.

As long as you’re on his team – not pressuring him or telling him how much he’s failing you – you have a great chance to weather this storm and prove your worth as a partner. And I can all but guarantee you, he’s never had someone who has done anything like that for him before.

This is why you’d choose a man. This is why he’ll choose you.

Good luck.

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  1. 31

    I seem to be going through this sort of thing too, although when I have tried to reach out an communicate, I am getting nothing.  I’m not talking about long conversations like we had at first.  I send a quick e-mail to tell him I love him and miss him and there is no response which tells me I have been kicked to the curb.

  2. 32

    @ 31

    I seem to be going through this sort of thing too, although when I have tried to reach out an communicate, I am getting nothing.  I’m not talking about long conversations like we had at first.  I send a quick e-mail to tell him I love him and miss him and there is no response which tells me I have been kicked to the curb.
    Dont know about being kicked to the curb…..but how do you communicate to a man (who obviously dosent value the “miss you” text or email? Im in the same boat and I have explained that it makes me feel ignored and not important when I have “put myself out there” and infrequently send these sorts of communication (we dont live together and have been together over 2 years)…..but still ignores me. His excuse is he hardly reads his email… but will read email if its from a buyer for his car!!! lol
    I rarely send these texts/emails and I have explained that I wont ever again as it makes me worry I will be a=ignored again. And I havent.

  3. 33
    Karmic Equation

    @31 & 32
    I’m going to say something neither of you are going to like.
    When a man doesn’t respond to your texts at all or in the manner that you like, STOP CONTACTING HIM. Period. Just write him off. He doesn’t deserve your time or efforts. And telling him it hurts you not to hear from him will ensure that you never do.
    You’ll better off not letting them EVER see you sweat. Show them that if they don’t have time for you, you have better things to do with your time.

  4. 34

    Mighty fine advice if you are just starting out seeing each other…..but after 2 years one should be able to communicate our needs. I believe (some) men dont value written text/email as much as a woman does, and some cant relate to how important it is for his women. If you dont tell him then, how is he suppose to know what you want from him? Surely being in a committed relationship requires communication and managing the ebb and flow… sometimes life gets in the way.
    One thing though, if he dosent respond (after I have asked him about whether or not he got my text that night when I see him), I will not text him again. I refuse to continue to put myself out there when he dosent value it or take the time to respond. I will just communicate face to face instead and hold back my girlish tendencies to want to communicate loving texts to my man. I am sad about this though, but understand that texting/emailling loving messages (other than to communicate practical requests) isn’t for everyone. Is it worth breaking up over? Not sure…Jury is out on that one as yet as there are other aspects of the relationship dynamic that needs to be taken into account first. 
    Relationships can be hard work and patience is required to work through things as I find there may be reasons why he couldn’t do what I was “expecting him to do”…. he may have had a flat battery and couldn’t respond, or he was busy installing a hot water system at work…and I got all upset over nothing! I prefer now to wait and see before I react. Its hard…cause my imagination runs wild…but when I do wait, 9/10 Im pleasantly surprised and relieved and I avoided undue conflict.

  5. 35

    At least in my situation, I agree with Karmic.  There were a couple of other red flags that I should have paid attention to. When taken in context with the lack of communication, patently obvious I have been dumped. 

  6. 36
    David T

    I disagree with Karmic and agree with Anthea.
    And telling him it hurts you not to hear from him will ensure that you never do.

    Telling him it hurts you is exactly what you SHOULD do if you are in a relationship or approaching one.  If he cares about you, he will find some way to address the problem.  If he doesn’t, or feels smothered if you tell him what bugs you(*), then it a darn good thing you found that out earlier than later.

    Blanket assuming a communication style is identical to your expectations is a recipe for saying “next” on a good man who just happens to be different.

    @ST68 Your concern was better founded. “I love you and miss you”=silence once you are in a relationship is not a good sign. . . that is if you know he actually saw the message and knows you like to hear from him sometimes.
    That he did not have the courage to tell you how he feels or does not feel makes him a coward. Sorry for your pain, but again, better now than later and when you are more involved or married.

    (*) The only caveat here is if there is always something new bugging you, you do need to examine yourself.  You gots some insecurities, like Evan talked about in this morning’s blog.


  7. 37

    Hi fusee and david. He asked me to show him how to eat a more healthy, yet still enjoyable and economical diet. It’s not like I said: you’re too fat, i’m putting you on a diet. I don’t know why it still hurts so much (its been 17 months since I found out about her). It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that he wasn’t the person I thought he was. Looking back, it was actually really hard to truly get to know him because he worked all the time (there were some red flags which I judged him for initially but he had a lie and an excuse for everything). He just fed me a constant and steady supply of bullshit efvery day to the effect of how much he loves me and misses me and wishes he could spend more time with me and that i’m the women he wants to spend the rest of his life with. I imagine a lot of women would put up with loneliness if they thought it was because their partner loved them but had no choice but to be absent most of the time. I remember evan said in another one of his blog posts that a constantly absent husband/partner is a “one way ticket to unhappyland”. So looking back, if I met another guy in his situation, even if he was honest, loyal and full of integrity and even if he did truly love me, after this experience, I would walk away if he expected me to endure such an arrangement from the beginning of our courtship – because you really just can’t know what he’s truly like, and before you know it, you’ve wasted a very long time devoted to a stranger. I think what hurts so much is that I sacrificed so much and all he was doing was manipulating me the whole time. It was truly cruel and I feel like my soul has been raped. He really did know exactly what to say to keep me (and my family) totally in love with him and there for him despite his long absences. He acts like he wears his heart on his shoulder … the hard done by hero. The sad thing is that this guy will never, ever NOT be able to get a women. He’s just too convincing. I remember the morning when I realised that he was lying to me and I felt like Richard Gere must have in the movie “Primal Fear” when he realised that the character that Edward Norton played was actually a psychopath pretending to be a victimized choirboy. It wasn’t good. Anyways, so that’s my experience for any women considering staying in a situation like that.

  8. 38

    I’m very sorry you went through that. As they say, living well is the best revenge. Do whatever you need to do to get past this hurt so you can truly live well. Otherwise, he’s just taking more and more of your time and he doesn’t deserve it.

  9. 39
    Karmic Equation

    +1 to Jennifer 38
    The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. Teach yourself to be indifferent to those who hurt you. Indifference hurts more than hate. And the person who learns to be indifferent to those who hurt them ends up in a better place emotionally, imo.

  10. 40

    hi jennifer. thanks for the tips. the worst of the pain has gone, but it seems every time i go into town, or see her in town, or see them together, i have a meltdown which lasts a day to a week.  but it’s getting easier and i just keep reminding myself – thank god i didn’t waste another day of my life with him, thank god it was only a bit more than a year and not many years, thank god i didn’t catch any diseases (i had two lots of tests just to be sure), thank god for all of the lessons i’ve learnt so that now i don’t feel that i’ll get to my 50s or 60s and and be holding onto a painful relationship for the sake of love. i see it so frequently now that i’m looking … that women endure the worst suffering in unhappy relationships even into old age. that can’t be good for their health. after this experience, i value my happiness so much more and realise the adverse physical effects of holding onto a toxic guy.  i feel like i’ve literally been cured of even the inclination to accept poor treatment – no matter what their excuse. and thank god i found this website because i was just so confused about his behaviour before i found this website. it’s like the light has been turned on and now i can see everything clearly in relation to guys. whereas before, i was walking around in the dark (and i still see other women making the same mistakes because they’re still in the dark). evan’s website should be an elective high school course for teenage girls.  🙂

  11. 41

    I have dated women who lost their jobs and I paid for everything, dinners, dates, even their rent and clothing. I even hired one girlfriend for a short time. I had no problem with it. I loved helping them get through their situation. The stress was high for them and they had a hard time accepting help. Even though those relationships didn’t work out, I know that when they look back, they will always know that I supported them and believed in them. When I recently hit on some financial stress, my girlfriend at the time put me down and belittled me for it. She had previously said that money was just money but when it came down to it, she was very materialistic. I realized how stuck up she was and saw the same when I met her family and she thankfully broke up with me over it. I consider it a blessing that I found out how egotistical and judgmental she is early on before we merged our lives, which I don’t think she will ever be able to do with anyone without years of intense therapy. She spent her whole life appeasing daddy and we could not have more than two weeks of peace before another daddy issue came up. And I think the money thing was all about her father’s disapproval. I could tell he only validated her when she achieved and performed. So sad. She doesn’t know how to love someone unconditionally, to love just because they are loving people. I want someone to love me for me, not for my achievements or my bank account and it’s not going to be her.

  12. 42

    Anonymous 41 – yep.  Agree with you.  If someone is not there for the hard times, and leave you or humiliate you, the wheel turns and somewhere along the line, they meet someone else who will have hard times.
    Been there, done that.
    I’ve had a very rich man move out of my life when things went seriously wrong (as they sometimes can).  When he wanted to return, my “no” message was scorching.

  13. 43

    As an unemployed Widower with two children, this is exactly why I don’t even entertain thoughts of dating anymore, let alone pursuing a long term relationship. Childcare issues alone have cost me two jobs, and since men are mostly valued by their socioeconomic status, the prospects of a man in my situation finding love, while in the process of losing everything, is almost zero. The women I met while I was last employed, are looking for an easy, comfortable situation to slide into. The one woman I had met and begun getting to know, while on the verge of losing my last job, I started distancing from because I didn’t want to lose a job while dating someone. We eventually stopped talking, and eventually I lost the job. I cut and ran…before she likely did the same to me. She out of the blue asked me about this a few days ago. Told her the truth…but are women really looking for a good man or looking for a good situation? If she would’ve cut and run, I wouldn’t have faulted her. ..

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